BMW M guy buys electric vehicle

BMW i | September 24th, 2014 by 19
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Hi, my name is Manny and I’m a BMW M Certified client advisor, and I just bought a BMW i3. Let me clarify one thing, …

Hi, my name is Manny and I’m a BMW M Certified client advisor, and I just bought a BMW i3. Let me clarify one thing, I’m also one of the first BMWi certified client advisors and have been in the BMW EV program since I delivered the very first ActiveE in January of 2011. My heart still lies with the M cars and spending time at the track, but I simply don’t need a track car as a daily driver, what I need is an i3.

Used To Be An “M Guy”

Living in NJ there aren’t many occasions to drive an M5 or the new M3 and M4 to their fullest potential. And honestly driving a track prepared E39 M5 like I did for many years became a chore. Maybe you can chalk that up to old age (I’m 42 now) but driving this beast regularly began to beat me up physically. It was equipped with KW variant 3 coil overs and Dinan sway bars. Stiff is a word commonly used to describe the ride in my M5. That and the full SuperSprint exhaust with X-Pipe became a nuisance to my neighbors when I’d get home late at night from work.

My M5

When the opportunity arose for me to represent my BMW Center back in late 2010 for the then upcoming ActiveE field trial I jumped at it. Being a product guy I love learning about anything BMW, plus the opportunity to meet a new demographic of BMW buyers intrigued me. Who would buy an electric 1 Series I thought, well I would soon find out.

The clients I would meet were actually car fanatics, much like myself they loved driving their BMWs as much as any other, but they knew something I didn’t yet, the EV fuel free lifestyle and the instant torque. Oh man that torque!

I’d also like to add that EV owners can afford just about any BMW in our lineup, and most certainly the fuel costs associated with some of our V8 offerings. They buy an EV because they love the instant torque, the immediate throttle response and that thing about not spending money on gas. That last part is important because it’s something that really drew me to owning an EV and in particular the i3.

What Has Drawn Me To The BMW i3

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So what do I love about the i3? The fact that its “Life Module” is made entirely of carbon fiber produced at BMW’s Moses Lake plant in Washington State which makes it the lightest BMW currently offered for sale. This Life module is mounted on top of the “Drive Module” which holds the 22.8kW battery, much like body on frame construction. Being that the other components of the car such as the body panels are made from thermoplastic the whole package is very light, 2634 lbs for the BEV version and 2799 lbs for the REx.

Could the i3 be a contender for a class win at a future autocross day? We’ll find out in the spring.

The engine, not your typical engine, but nonetheless a fun one. It won’t win any horsepower wars but at 170HP and 184 lb-ft of torque all available from the second you mash the throttle, provides a rush of power similar to driving a silky smooth BMW V12. In fact the i3’s power-to-weight ratio is a very respectable 15.49 lbs/HP. For comparison the 335i rear wheel drive is 11.98 lbs/HP, a 535i rear wheel drive is 13.19 lbs/hp, and a 228i is 13.72 lbs/HP.

But it’s all about the torque with the i3, not the horsepower.

Is The i3 The Perfect Daily Driver?

So let’s boil it down, why did I buy an i3 for a daily driver? Three important aspects:

  • The lowest weight in any BMW making it a very toss-able car in the turns
  • The instant torque allowing for some interesting stop light Grand Prix
  • For my daily commute I wouldn’t have to buy gas.

Care to try it out for yourself? Put in a call to your local BMWi center, a third of the BMW dealerships are currently running a program for an Extended Test Drive on the i3. You get to experience the i3 and all its virtues for 3-4 days. Much like our own Chuck Vossler did and now he’s getting an i3 of his own, while he still owns a E92 M3 and a Porsche 911. There must be a theme here.

The i3 I purchased is an Range Extender REx “Mega world” with the optional 20 inch wheels and a few options like DC Fast Charge and heated seats. Personally I love the Laurel Grey with the BMW i frozen blue trim, it really sets the color combination off. I’ll have another article out soon on the custom bits I created for my i3 such as the custom painted calipers in BMW i blue and a few other touches.

For now I’m just enjoying passing fuel stops that I used to stop at only to hand the attendant $60 every five days.

Yes, the drive is fantastic as well but I can’t get over my fuel savings costs. Now I have more money to save to buy another track car.


19 responses to “BMW M guy buys electric vehicle”

  1. CDspeed says:

    I’ve owned an E46 M3 coupe, and an E92 M3 convertible. And I’m now an i3 owner, the first time I drove the i3 I thought it drove exactly like an M car. Tight communicative steering, and that punch of instant torque, plus the fact that it’s built like an exotic supercar.

    • Manny Antunes says:

      I don’t have many former M owners that now drive an i3 but the few folks i have had drive the i3 do say it drives a lot like an M3. It must be the lightweight, the steering as you say and that torque…OOoooohhh that torque!!

      • CDspeed says:

        I test drove an M4 coupe a few weeks back, it felt like my i3’s big brother. Except for the transmission of course, I really like the seamless power of an electric car. In my 550i GT when I punch it, it pauses while it drops a gear or two, so you have a second to aim the wheel where you want the car to go. The i3 just flys, the first time I went to pass a car on my island I ended up two car lengths ahead of it.

  2. Harold Sogard says:

    Custom painted blue calipers – sounds great. Can’t wait to hear details!

  3. Charlie56 says:

    Hi Manny, I work at a BMW dealer, my BMW center is offering an employee lease deal on the i3 BEV (non REX) for $183/mo. for 10K miles per year, ~$800 due for first month ($400 doc fee, $75 tags, ,$183 1st month payment, and finally ~$145 which is supposedly some portion of a $4875 credit.. This is on a $44500 MSRP BEV. Is this employee lease deal monthly amount similar to what is offered to employees at your dealer?

  4. Chuck Vossler says:

    Nice Piece Manny! Sweet i3

  5. Erik says:

    Just did the 3 day test drive of the REx model. Was having so much fun I kept it a 4th day so the wife could drive. I’m a lifetime BMW, M and MINI GP guy. Currently own a ’73 2002, ’88 M5, 3 MINIs. Never thought I would consider giving up a manual transmission, let alone buy an electric car, but my ride has me considering it. Up until 15 years ago, I loved everything BMW brought out, but they kept getting heavier and larger to the point they were no longer fun to drive on the street. Sure, the performance kept getting better, but the cars were not fun until I would do some really stupid things driving it. That brought me to the MINI. Always hated FWD, but that may be because BMW never tried to build one before, and that is how I felt about the electric car too. Loved sitting up high, but still having the center of gravity of a sports car. The limits are nowhere near that of a modern BMW or MINI but that is part of the fun, and the balance of the car is pure BMW. Knowing I was in electric car kept me calm when stuck behind a slow car in the passing lane. Would have found a way to pass in the MINIs or M5 but that’s just not cool during rush hour. I know it’s the was the 1 and now 2 series that were supposed to be the modern 2002, but I think the i3 may have more in common. Most old reviews of the 2002 would mention just how bad the downsized sedans of the day were, just a result of the gas crisis, but this little car had their great mileage, but still performed as a sports car should, and was pure fun. Sounds a lot like the i3 to me. I’d have to give up one of my MINI GP’s to justify this, and I’m just not ready, but it could happen in the future.

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